Ararat and Nemrud

Day 1 Trabzon
Transfer to the hotel in Trabzon. After meeting with group members for a welcome cocktail at your hotel we will take a walk in town center.

Day 2 Trabzon
Today we drive to Sumela Monastery to visit this magnificent structure which is dedicated to Virgin Mary. It looks like it is perched on Mt.Karadag just like an eagle's nest. We have a steep trail with several switch backs to the top. We eat lunch and visit  the 13th century St. Sophia Church of Trabzon.

Day 3 Erzurum
This morning we leave the Black Sea coast early in the morning. We drive over Zigana pass in the Pontic Range and arrive Erzurum. Among the places we visit 14th century madrasa- medieval schools-such as Yakutiye Medrese, 13th century conical tombs, 13th century Double-towered Medrese, Grand Mosque. All date from the early periods of Turkish and Mongolian rule in Eastern Anatolia with ornate architectures.

Day 4 Kars
As usual we begin the day early and drive to Ani! At the Northeastern corner of Turkey close to the border with Armenia. Here you'll see the rich heritage of the Armenian, Selcuklu monuments. Cathedral and churches from 11th century, mosques remains of two Selcuk baths from 14th C.

Day 5 Van
We drive to Dogubeyazit and visit one of the wonders of Eastern Anatolia, Ishak Pasa Palace from 1784. Built as a palace and a castle. A must see place! During the tour you'll be able to see Mt.Ararat the highest peak in Turkey- 16,853 feet, the site where the legendary Noah's Ark came to rest.

Day 6 Van
We have a full day to enjoy Van and the area. We can begin our tour with a visit to the Van Castle. Van was the capital of the Urartu Kingdom in 9th century B.C. We visit Cavustepe Urartian Palace remains located along the ancient trade road. We will then drive back to the lake and follow its unique colored water result of rich soda content. It is the largest lake in Turkey, 1400 sq miles. A short drive would bring us to Gevas, and take a boat to Ahtamar island to see the Armenian church built in 915. It is famous for its exterior stone bas-reliefs depicting biblical stories. Church, medieval cemetery, almond trees and thousands of birds inhabiting the rocky island all blend in a magical setting.
Urartu Hotel

Day 7 Diyarbakir
A scenic drive awaits us as we drive along the isolated terrains almond the southern shores of lake Van and if time permits drive to a the Nemrut volcanic crater. What a sight!
We will then gradually descent from the high eastern plains to the plains of upper Mesopotamia at Diyarbakir that has one of the best preserved medieval city walls still impressive along the Tigris.

Day 8 Urfa
On the way to Urfa we can stop to witness one of the largest dams of the world which is a part of a major economic and social development project, Ataturk Dam and see Turkey's largest artificial lake. After that we get to Urfa and visit Balikli Gol (fish pond)of prophet Abraham and hear the legend about it. We also visit the cave of prophet Abraham where he was born at the bottom of the castle of Urfa. We spend the night in the city.

Day 9 Urfa
We drive to Harran where you can see bee-hive shaped houses and meet a the locals. This is another site that goes back to Hittites. You can explore among the ruins of the great Temple of Sin (God of the Moon of the Hittites), its stone fortress, a watch tower, eastern gate of the university of Harran from the Abbasid period and magnificent palaces. This will take you to a journey through history again. We spend the night in Urfa again.

Day 10-11 Nemrud
Today is the day you can see one of the highlights of the trip, Mt.Nemrud, 7,052 feet high. So, you may be able to take pictures from above the clouds! We drive to Mt. Nemrut and see 'the heads' as many of you call them, which are the heads of Gods. On top of the mountain there is a tumulus containing the grave of the King Antiochus I of the Commagene Kingdom from the 1st century B.C.
There will be plenty of time to visit other sites in the valley dating from the 1st C. B.C. Roman bridge at Cendere, and burial tombs of members of Commagene dynasty that controlled this strategic area between east and the west.  Today you can spend the night at the skirt of Mt.Nemrud at our modest motel in Kahta town.

Day 12 Day Cappadocia
We have a very scenic drive today from Adiyaman thru Taurus mountains dressed with cedar of Lebanon forest to end up in the central Anatolian plateau. We stay in Cappadocia for three nights.

Days 13-14 Cappadocia
After all the wonderful places you have seen, this is the place you may think you have not seen anything like that. The bizarre landscape of Cappadocia and it's rock cut churches. We visit Goreme Open Air Museum, Pasabag Valley, Underground city and many other valleys, attractions.

Day 15 We will drive to Kayseri (1 hour) and fly to Istanbul.



What to Bring

Imperial Ottoman
Caves and Castles
Turquoise Blue Waters
Gods Saints and Dervishes
Black Sea; Forsaken Paths
Emerald Hills and the East
Ararat and Nemrud
Magic Light


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